I'd Like to Thank the Academy and the NFL...
My lack of posts lately in no way reflects a lack of exciting news.
Let's jump right in. I had the unbelievable fortune a couple weeks ago of learning that my feature film screenplay Scattering Jake is a quarterfinalist in the Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships. Yes, that's "The Academy," as in, the one people thank when they receive an Oscar. I'll go ahead and let you know now that I did not advance to the semifinals, but I am still totally floored to have gotten this far. Here's why:
You may remember a post from last year about my challenges with writing. (If not, here it is.) I set a goal back in September to finish a script in time to submit to the Nicholl Fellowships along with two other opportunities that had the same deadline. I submitted with no expectation of any outcome, but rather as a way to overcome my writing demons, finish a project, and prove that I could achieve a goal with a deadline. This particular contest seemed like SUCH a long shot, with its thousands of applicants and the fact that it's really a contest for finished scripts and mine was going to barely be a finished draft. I paid extra to get the feedback from the readers, hoping that at the very least I could get some notes from outsiders and use those to help my revisions. I finished this draft two days before submitting, read it out loud way too late at night with my producer Tessa, and sent it the next day.
So maybe you can understand how CRAZY it felt when I got an email from the Academy that started with the word "Congratulations." Mine was somehow one of the 375 scripts to make it out of the first round of 7,442 submissions. 375 out of 7,442. Regardless of not making the next cut down to 149 scripts, I'm going to revel in this awesome piece of outside validation.
As artists, we all (or at least I) have to find a way to keep working despite the rejection, self-doubt, and fear of failure. No one deserves success. But when you've really worked hard and have found a way to keep going in the face of every good reason to quit, a little bit of positive reinforcement is a pretty cool reward. Before this news, I had been avoiding reading the script and working on it because I was sure it would be terrible, and I'd have to start over. Now, I'm feeling excited to dive in on those revisions and hopeful that maybe (just maybe) I'm on to something here.
How does the NFL tie in with this? It doesn't. BUT a commercial I filmed for NFL Fantasy Football is now up online! Check it out:
I'll leave it at that for now. (This post is definitely long enough.) I'll be sure to share some updates on Life, After soon, so watch out for that. For now, here are some adorable pictures from a recent production meeting of our director Paul with our newly hired gaffer Bailey. (She's very creative.)